The kidnapping and gang rape of two young female tourists from Delhi in Calangute on Tuesday night is a most harrowing incident not only for female tourists from other states and countries but also for native Goan women. The modus operandi of the gang of kidnapper-rapists would send a chill down any woman’s spine. The two Delhi women were travelling in a taxi down the Anjuna-Calangute road. This stretch has a constant traffic with the movement of vehicles carrying domestic and foreign tourists. The time is about 8 o’clock in the evening, which is early, going by the popularity of the Anjuna-Calangute stretch which is dotted with bars and restaurants. At 8.30 their taxi is stopped at Arpora by the five kidnapper-rapists who are riding three motorcycles. What does it show to every woman? That you are not safe even if you are not travelling alone, but with a female friend and in a car. Criminals can wheel their motorbikes round in front of your car forcing you to stop. They can rob you of your wallet and ATMs and on the threat of killing or harming you can muzzle you to a room in a resort and rape you. This is what happened to the two Delhi women. This is what will traumatize them for their whole life. They will shudder to move out in the evenings. Is this the kind of Goa we want?
One of the main reasons why a group of persons can resort to such brutalities is that the police have allowed the coastal belt to become a hotbed of criminal activities. Under the garb of tourism, prostitution, drugs and gambling have been growing unabated. As the atmosphere is characterized by predominance of criminality, it gives courage to young persons, such as the five who kidnapped and raped the Delhi women, to indulge in robbery and rape without a sense of fear. Policing has not struck fear in the hearts of criminals in the coastal belt. Often they are partners and friends to them. That emboldens criminal-minded youth to seek and attack women in the belt. How many times native Goan families living in the coastal belt have complained that as a result of unbridled sex trade, their wives, sisters and daughters are looked upon as women of easy virtue! “Of what use are the jobs and income from tourism if our women are going to face disgrace every time we step out of our home?”
A major transformation of the atmosphere in the coastal belt is necessary. Criminals must be rooted out of the belt. Costs of promoting tourism are proving too high. The state police cannot prevent gang rape in future until it eradicates prostitution, drug peddling and gambling in the coastal belt.